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The Tale of al-Barrāq Son of Rawḥān and Laylā the ChasteA bilingual edition and study$
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Marlé Hammond

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266687

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266687.001.0001

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The Narrative, Its Components and Its ‘Novelisation’

The Narrative, Its Components and Its ‘Novelisation’

(p.152) 3 The Narrative, Its Components and Its ‘Novelisation’
The Tale of al-Barrāq Son of Rawḥān and Laylā the Chaste

Marlé Hammond

British Academy

This chapter represents a narratological breakdown of the tale. Drawing on the theory of Seymour Chatman, Mikhail Bakhtin and Georg Lukács, I discuss the tale and its relationship to the ʿUdhrī love tale, the popular epic and the novel in terms of its discourse, setting, characters and events. I argue that the tale has a plot with a ‘homophonic’ texture, whereby a ‘melody’ of singular events (such as the abduction, torture and rescue of Laylā) overlays a ‘drone’ of repeated events (namely battle scenes). I conclude with a comparison of the tale with its twentieth-century novelistic adaptation and a discussion of what the comparison reveals about the pre-history of the Arabic novel.

Keywords:   Al-Barrāq, Laylā the Chaste, Sīra, ʿUdhrī love, novel, Chatman, Bakhtin, Lukács, ʿᾹdil Ghaḍbān, homophonic

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